(Crookston, Minn.) – The University of Minnesota, Crookston Men’s Hockey team opens their season this Saturday and Sunday as they travel to St. Paul, Minn. to take on Bethel University in non-conference action. The puck drops at 7:00 pm on Friday and 2:00 pm on Saturday.
Head Coach Gary Warren enters his seventh campaign at the helm of the Golden Eagles who finished the 2006-2007 season with an overall record of 7-16-3 and 5-13-2 in the Midwest Collegiate Hockey Association (MCHA) which was good for fifth place.
Coach Warren will look to replace Ryan Leadens (Fwd., South Saint Paul, Minn.) who had 10 goals and 16 assists for 26 points as well as five power play goals. Another loss is Kyle Knudsen (G., Mead, Wash.) who was 5-5-1 between the pipes with a 3.80 goals against average and a .880 saves percentage. Also a significant loss is 2006-2007 team captain Brett Shelanski (G., Bloomington, Minn.) who has taken on a new roll as assistant coach next to long time Golden Eagle assistant coach David Rolling.
Top returnees for the Golden Eagles at forward include team tri-captain Teal Plaine (Sr., Fwd., Hallock, Minn.) who led U of M, Crookston last season with 27 points (12 goals and 15 assists) and three power play goals and tri-captain Matt Hann (Sr., Fwd., Crookston, Minn.) who was third in points with 23 (nine goals and 14 assists). Other returnees at the forward position include John Lombardi (So., Fwd./Def., Apple Valley, Minn.) who was fourth on the team with 17 points (five goals and 12 assists), Brent Groenke (Sr., Fwd./Def., Morden, Manitoba,Canada) with 12 points (six goals and six assists) and four power play goals and Ryan Tucker (Sr., Fwd., Crookston, Minn.) with 10 points (one goal and nine assists). Adding more depth in the area of forward are tri-captain Fred Kooser (So., Fwd., Omaha, Neb.) with nine points (three goals and six assists), Matt Waclawik (So., Fwd., Fergus Falls, Minn.) with nine points (five goals and four assists), Brett Saari (Jr., Fwd., Green Bay, Wis.) with six points (two goals and four assists), Collin Perry (So., Fwd., Grand Forks, N.D.) with four points (two goals and two assists) and Jacob Karras (So., Def./Fwd., Janesville, Wis.). Newcomers at forward include Eddie Hanson (Fr., Fwd., Apple Valley, Minn.), Alex Maginnis (Fr., Fwd., Mason City, Iowa), Jared Kopp (Jr., Fwd., Bismarck, N.D.) and Marty Bilodeau (Jr., Fwd., Winnepeg, Manitoba, Canada).
On defense, U of M, Crookston will look to Matt Marchel (So., Def., Grand Forks, N.D.) with nine points (three goals and six assists) and three power play goals, Jacob Osland (Jr., Def., Mayville, N.D.) with four points (one goal and three assists) and Steve Zutz (Sr., Def./Fwd., Red Lake Falls, Minn.) with one point (one assist). Newcomers at defense include Ben Sullivan (Fr., Def., Crookston, Minn.), Kirk Graham (Jr., Def., Brandon, Manitoba, Canada), Bill Horton (Fr., Def.,New Hartford, N.Y.), Nick Sylvester (Fr., Def., Crookston, Minn.) and Spencer Syvertson (Fr., Def., Wasilla, Alaska).
Between the pipes, the Golden Eagles are counting on Justin Klinkhammer (So., G., Thief River Falls, Minn.) and Jaden Isakson (Sr., G., Bismarck, N.D.) to move into a larger role after playing in only seven and two games respectively last season. New to the net-minder position is Eric Everson (Jr., G., Stevens Point, Wis.).
Bethel University opens with the 2007-2008 season with a new head coach. Joel Johnson enters his first season taking over for the legendary Peter Aus who led the Royals for 13 seasons. Bethel finished last season with an overall record of 18-10-1 and 12-3-1 in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) which was good for first place. Jeff Balvin (seven goals/18 assists/25 points) returns to lead Bethel.
For more information, visit the Golden Eagle Athletics website at www.goldeneaglesports.com.
The University of Minnesota, Crookston is a NCAA Division II Institution and a member of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC). Golden Eagle Hockey is a member of the Midwest Collegiate Hockey Association (MCHA). The Golden Eagle Equestrian team is a member of the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA).